Ex-gridder didn't fritter

Column by Penny Parker

Posted

There are plenty of stories about former Broncos who lived the high life only to crash and burn post their NFL career.

But former wide receiver Rod Smith has avoided slipping into the “fortune, fame then falling flat on his face” cycle. His story is told as part of an Oct. 31 Forbes story headlined, “Not broke: How NFL players stay financially stable after the game ends.” To read the whole story, go to forbes.com and enter “NFL” in the search field.

Smith recounts being 10 years old and watching an episode of “Where Are They Now?” on HBO.

“There was a guy on the show who played in the NFL and then became homeless. ... When I saw that, I thought, `When I get into the NFL, there is no way I'm going broke,'” Smith told Forbes.

Forbes also cited a 2009 Sports Illustrated report that said within two years of retiring, 78 percent of NFL players face financial stress.

Smith hung onto his frugality throughout his 14-year NFL career in part because he joined the pros as an undrafted player in 1994. At his alma mater, Missouri Southern State University, he completed three degrees in business, economics and finance, and marketing and management, the story said.

“I didn't get drafted, so that helped me build financial stability,” Smith told Forbes. “I had a chance to be in the NFL, but not a chance to be in the NFL lifestyle, because I didn't have the income for it.”

On the Broncos practice squad making $60,000 a year, Smith didn't attempt to keep up with the financial luxuries of other players in the locker room.

Now in retirement, Smith has kept up a practice he started in the Broncos locker room under the leadership of former head coach Mike Shanahan of mentoring younger players about financial responsibility.

“I appreciate Shanahan because he let me teach a financial class to the rookies,” Smith said in the story. “Nobody was teaching me these principles. I learned them from watching people.”

Il Mondo Vecchio bids arrivederci

Il Mondo Vecchio, the much-lauded Denver salumi producer, will shut its doors on Nov. 30 due to increased regulatory requirements and pressures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The production facility at 1174 S. Cherokee St. famously produced salami, pepperoni, bresaola and other cured meats along with fresh sausages for local restaurants and markets, as well as for eateries in out-of-state cities including San Francisco, Seattle and Houston.

Mark DeNittis and business partner Gennaro DeSantis have owned and operated Il Mondo Vecchio under the local USDA watchdog for three years. When a representative from the national USDA went on an inspection, the salumeria was put under more fierce scrutiny.

“Il Mondo Vecchio has had three solid years of uninterrupted business growth and has never had one instance of food safety violation, issue or complaint,” DeNittis said in a written statement. “In August, the USDA imposed additional requirements on Il Mondo Vecchio's production methods. After two months of sharing information and collaboration back and forth between Il Mondo Vecchio and the USDA as well as various attempts to modify the production methods, Il Mondo Vecchio has determined that the impact of the regulatory requirements on dry cured sausage products was detrimental to the quality of the product and therefore, (we) are forced to close the doors.”

DeNittis said that his company and the USDA came to an impasse. “(We) could either change (our) methods to a process that has been validated by the USDA such as fermenting (cooking the product) or adding nitrites, nitrates, acids or copious amounts of salt, all resulting in what IMV believes to be an inferior product or stop production.”

They chose the latter.

The public is still invited to attend the weekly Friday afternoon Loading Dock Friday product sales until the end of this month.

All proceeds benefit the Denver Scholarship Foundation and its mission to inspire and empower Denver Public Schools students to achieve their quest for college.

For tickets, contact Abigail Whiteing at 303-640-6568 or e-mail awhiteing@denverscholarship.org. More information at www.denverscholarship.org.

He `otter' be a spokesmouth

Former Denver daily newspaper sports columnist and stand-up comedian Sam Adams is one of the new “spokesmouths” for the Samsung (get it?) OtterBox, the safety cover for the company's smartphones.

“This holiday season, keep me safe in an OtterBox cuz I'm better than any wingman you've ever partied with,” Adams says under the post of his video pitch at www.otterbox.com/wrapme. Click on “above average Joe.”

Wiley Weil

Rockmount Ranch Wear owner Steve Weil never met a celebrity he didn't like, especially if they buy and wear his shirts in concert.

So recently when rock icons Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler were on tour for two shows in Denver, Knopfler and the band stopped and shopped at Rockmount in LoDo.

The bass player wore his Rockmount denim shirt (No. 640-DT, Weil tells me) at the show.

“This is one perk at Rockmount, not knowing who is going to drop by unexpectedly,” Weil said.

Dylan has been to Rockmount and has many shirts, including the one he wore when he received the Medal of Honor from President Obama earlier this year.

Rev up for Restaurant Week(s)

The ninth annual Denver Restaurant Week(s) will be held from Feb. 23 to March 8.

DRW restaurant participants will once again offer diners a multi-course dinner for two for the “Mile High” price of $52.80, not including tax and tip.

Registration for Denver Restaurant Week for restaurants were to open this week. Questions: Contact Valerie Farrell at 303-571-936 or email drw@visitdenver.com.

Early bird gets best prices

Come to Lakewood's recreation centers from 3-9 a.m. Nov. 23 (yes, you read that right) to save up to 50 percent on recreation passes, classes and leagues. Carmody Recreation Center will open at 3 a.m., and the other three facilities will open at 5 a.m. The first 250 people to take advantage of the deals will receive a mystery goodie bag and a chance to win a $750 Belmar gift certificate. For more information, visit www.Lakewood.org/BlackFriday.

Penny Parker's “Mile High Life” column gives insights into the best events, restaurants, businesses, parties and people throughout the metro area. Parker also writes for Blacktie-Colorado.com. She can be reached at penny@blacktie-llc.com or at 303-619-5209.

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